Pathway Inc. Brothers United Introduces BU 2.0

In 2020, there were ups and downs for Pathway Inc. Brothers United Fatherhood program. In April 2020, the program completed a Randomized

Avis Files

Control Trial in which over 300 Fathers completed the program and provided the program with robust data that would go on to inform Toledo, Ohio about Fathers for generations to come.

In October 2020, after being federally funded by the Office of Family Assistance, Administrations for Children and Families for five years, having served 1,818 fathers and 5,057 children, Pathway Inc. Brothers United Fatherhood program was informed that they did not obtain the grant that they competed for.

“The team was devastated and so was I,” said Avis Files, director of Family and Supportive Services. “I had to release over ten staff who had dedicated their time and energy for the past five years towards serving Fathers and families.”

In December 2020, J Black Jr. was hired as the new CEO of Pathway Inc. He brings to Pathway years of experience.

“The first day I met with Mr. Black, he stated he was impressed with the work Pathway Inc. Brothers United Fatherhood program had done throughout the years and he was not willing to let it go,” said Mrs. Files.  “I breathed a sigh of relief. It was as if he read my mind. We wanted and needed to keep Brothers United alive.”

Not long after starting, Mr. Black found himself reviewing, signing, and working with Mrs. Files to do exactly that; keep BU alive.

When asked about Brothers United, Mr. Black stated, Pathway’s Brothers United Program offers a much-needed service in Northwest Ohio. In fact, it is the only program that effectively targets African-American Fathers with the mission of providing supportive services to help Fathers stay connected in their children’s lives, which produces far greater outcomes than the alternative. As a result, our entire community benefits from this engagement. Pathway will continue to support the BU Program, and I personally am looking forward to seeing the program grow and help more Fathers.” 

Jay Black

It wasn’t long before the program was awarded $75,000 with The Single County Fatherhood Grant from The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood to begin Brothers United 2.0. This program is not an extension of Brothers United. It is an innovative and creative project that serves fathers (non-custodial, custodial, biological, legal, adoptive, expectant, step-father, foster, grandfather or a male family member) and even male teens who are not yet fathers.  It offers case management that specializes in Child Support and workshop sessions using evidence-based curriculum in Fatherhood and Healthy Relationships.

The Department of Family and Supportive Services offers other assistance through Brothers United Healthy Start, Brothers United Skill Up to Move Up, and Sisters United.

“When I first started Brothers United, I had no idea of the growth and capacity it would have to serve Fathers and Families and now, I’m excited that we have the ability to serve more people going from one major program to several different ones that serve the entire Family.”

The future looks brighter and stronger for Brothers United. If you would like further information on any of the programs, please visit our website,, or contact Avis Files, the Director of Family and Supportive Services, at 419-279-0798 or

“Pathway, Inc.’s Brothers United 2.0 Fatherhood Program is supported by the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood.”